Farke’s VAR Wish Granted for Wembley Clash: Leeds United Manager Teases Tactical Approach Ahead of the highly anticipated SHOWDOWN at Wembley


“Unfortunately there is no VAR system…” It’s not often we hear a manager say those words, but that was how Daniel Farke assessed Leeds United’s 3-1 loss to Southampton in September.

While Premier League managers regularly complain about what they consider to be the interference of the decision review system, White’s boss was saddened by its absence at St Mary’s at the start of the season.

He was right too. The issue was whether Adam Armstrong was offside when he ran onto the ball to give Saints an early lead and increase it to 3-0 before the break. That goal dramatically changed the complexion of the game after just two minutes and the former Newcastle United striker appeared to be too quick in his running.
VAR would no doubt have ruled him out and it would have been a very different game, although Leeds’ defence left a lot to be desired in the first half on this day. But there will be no such problems this weekend when the two teams take on Wembey in Sunday’s Championship play-off final.

That will be using the VAR system that both Leeds and Southampton know well after many years in the Premier League. It wasn’t just Armstrong’s offside that angered Farke, however, as the German was convinced that Will Smallbone could have been sent off before scoring Armstrong’s second goal.

“Congratulations to Southampton, they were more efficient in this game,” said Farke after the loss at St Mary’s. “We won more or less in every statistic, but the only thing that matters is the result and the result is 3-1, so congratulations to them.

“Our behaviour in defence was not spot on as in the last few games, in the last four games we have kept zero four times in a row and we did not allow our opponents many chances. Today we had to be more aware and sharper in the decisive moments.

“Apart from the goals, I can’t remember a single situation where Illan Meslier had to make a save, so we didn’t allow them too much. Sometimes small moments can make a big difference.

“Speaking of the first goal, yes, normally if we had used VAR it would probably have been ruled out for offside, but unfortunately there is no VAR in the Championship, so we had to go down a bit quicker to fend off a run from Adam Armstrong. On the second goal, yes, we should have moved a bit quicker and been sharper on the ball, but it was also incredibly unlucky. There was a situation where Smallbone committed a foul on Crysencia Summerville.

“You can also argue that he had a yellow card, I’m not asking for yellow and red cards, but at least we can discuss it. Normally we would then play in overtime, but because of this situation Cry needed treatment and there is protocol that says he has to stay off the pitch for 30 seconds, which means we had to play in overtime. At this point Smallbone, the player he felled, was in position to make a cut-back.

“I’m not using that as an excuse, but if we talk about it we could have been sharper and quicker, but it was one of those days when we were a bit unlucky and every mistake was punished. I can’t say anything about the third goal, the individual behaviour has to be better against Armstrong. If you are 3-0 down at half-time it is always difficult to come back with points.”

VAR will no doubt come into play at some point on Sunday – let’s just hope it’s in Leeds United’s favour. One thing is for sure, using the offside technique, Leeds will be able to play high up against Southampton’s strikers and not risk getting caught for a bad decision.

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